UK ETA Application Guidelines

| November 30, 2023
UK ETA Application Guidelines

The Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) for the United Kingdom (UK) is convenient and accessible for visa-free visitors entering England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Citizens who do not need a visa to travel to the UK can quickly complete and pay for the ETA application online to receive their digital travel permit. However, an easy task becomes more prone to mistakes if done haphazardly.

To avoid common mistakes, follow these guidelines for a swift and efficient UK ETA online application.

Apply for your UK ETA in advance.

Visa-exempt travelers must apply for an ETA in advance to avoid delays, cancellations, or rebooking their travel to the UK.

The UK ETA application process typically takes three days (72 hours) for an applicant to receive a decision, whether approval or denial. Many travelers receive a decision within minutes of submitting their application. Still, some applications may take longer than three days to process.

Without an approved ETA, carriers will not allow you to board your flight, ship, or train to the UK. Even if you have already applied and are just waiting for your ETA application decision, you will still be denied boarding.

Filling out the ETA application form

The UK ETA application is entirely online. It takes about 10 to 16 minutes to complete. While the process should be quick and easy, following the guidelines below could help avoid many errors when filling out the application form.

Have your ETA requirements ready.

Like other online visa or visa waiver application platforms, the UK ETA online application system has a timeout period. Once you click the link and start the process, complete your application as soon as possible.

To help you do this, ready your requirements and place them within reach as you start the application process. Requirements for the UK ETA include your passport, recent passport photo, valid email address, and accepted online payment method.

Your session will expire if you stay inactive on the website for 20 minutes, and you will need to restart the process — an unnecessary delay. You must fill in all the required information again, as the website does not save any previously entered or submitted data during a canceled session.

Review and double-check the data you provide.

Read through every question at least twice to ensure you understand what is being asked of you. Ensure you upload the correct file for your passport scan and recent photo. Then, before submitting your application, carefully review all the information you provided.

Double-check the details, such as passport numbers and travel itinerary, to ensure they match your physical documents. Simple mistakes, such as a character or number, can discredit your application.

Always be accurate and truthful in your responses.

The ETA aims to improve border security by pre-screening visa-free travelers before they arrive in the UK. The data you submit in your application will be cross-verified across multiple security databases, so always answer all questions honestly and as accurately as possible to the best of your knowledge.

Do not provide false information or data you think will increase your chances of getting approved. Any irregularities in your application form can lead to delays or a denial of your UK ETA.

Paying for your UK ETA application

Each UK ETA application costs £10. You need to pay for the application online to be able to submit it. The platform currently only accepts credit or debit cards, as well as Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Ensure you use an accepted online payment method with no restrictions and that you have sufficient funds to pay for your ETA application. Accurately input the details such as credit card or debit card number, name on the card, expiration date, and CVV code to avoid errors.

Final reminders

The ETA will be digitally linked to your passport, so make sure you travel to the UK with the same passport you used in your application, in case you have more than one.

Try to steer clear of any legal issues before your trip to the UK, as it can affect your ETA. Even if you have already received an approved travel permit, authorities can still revoke or cancel your ETA if new information pops up when your passport is scanned at the border.

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